Sunday, July 31, 2011

Starving Somalis

Few show sufficient interest in understanding why a situation exists before they try to "fix" it. In computer science this is called GIGO (Garbage in, garbage out)--that is, when you apply logical processes to a mis-formulated problem, the results will not be useful, no matter how impeccable the logic.

As far as the famine in Somalia goes, pretty much all of the news coverage has failed to show any interest in why so many Somalis are starving, simply attributing it to drought.

Well, "drought" is our name for an area getting less rain than it had gotten previously. Except "previously" gets measured in decades--that is, a human timeframe, not centuries, the real timeframe for most climate cycles.

The plain fact is that Somalia contains more Somalis than Somalia can feed. That's what you get when the world's population quadruples over the last century or so--and even today is increasing by over 140 people EVERY MINUTE, even after deaths are factored in. And since more industrialized nations now have low birthrates, the statistical increase is vastly higher in the third world.

Moreover, the overpopulation itself contributes to climate change, as people chop down every tree for charcoal/firewood/huts, the topsoil washes off, and the herds of cattle and goats eat everything the locals didn't chop down, all resulting in desertification, which makes local climate drier.

No Somalis would be starving if Somalia's population were at a level Somalia could sustain.

But credible estimates now say that for Earth to sustain its current human population, we'd need 1.4 Earths.
So until you can come up with .4 more Earth to accommodate our race's fecundity, Somalia's only real "solution" is war, famine, disease, and starvation. Feeding Somalis with no thought to containing procreation only kicks the can down the road.

Yet humans continue to think at the level of chimpanzees, only reacting to what's under their noses, with no thought to causes or consequences.

Same goes for the conspiracy theorists who attribute the famine to Western sources (manipulating food prices etc.)--if Somalia weren't grotesquely overpopulated it wouldn't be dependent on foreign aid or theorized manipulations.

Now Western countries and NGOs are rushing to try to bring food to starving Somalis. Even if they do get past the paranoid Islamic fanatics who control much of Somalia, all this aid will do is contribute to future starvation and future aid attempts in an endless cycle, unless we address the root causes.

1 comment:

dwm said...

i can't help but believe that maybe 'we' are the cause of, for the moment, 'starving somalis'. or, at least, we have some role in it.

it's our 'missionary' thing.

it seems to have started with the jesus missionaries. then came the medical missionaries. then, while those are both still in full force, came the new-improved-blue-cheer ngo's and gate's-like philanthropy missionaries. and lets not forget the 'peace keepers', un or other.
what if we had just never made 'the decision' that what the african continent needed was us shepherding and caring for them?
wouldn't it be something if some night (in a moment of not-thinking-carelessness) you turned on abc news and watched diane sawyer deliver one of her emotional 'journalism' performances with another fresh-water-well-in-a-village story, and it turned out the well was dug by the african village itself? dug and operated by descendants of the same people who have been living on the same patch of earth since they walked upright are now drilling their own wells!!
wow! what a story that would be.